Donkey Kong Jr.
All the levels are here!
By Ethan C. NoblesDecember 22, 2005
Well, the graphics are prettier than the 8-bit version.
Boy this spring is hard to jump on!
DK2: Electric Boogaloo.
These screens still aren't in the right order.
Poor, poor Atari. Back in 1988, the world
was bonkers over platform games such as Super Mario Bros. and its
progeny for the Nintendo Entertainment System, while Atari was cranking
out titles like Donkey Kong Jr. for the 7800. Hey, Donkey Kong
Jr. is a great game, but it was big a full five years before it was
ported to the 7800. The classic arcade title was old news when the 7800
port of Donkey Kong Jr. arrived, thus making the NES and all its
“current” games seem very appealing. To make matters worse, Nintendo
(owner of the Donkey Kong character, of course) put out its Donkey
Kong Classics cartridge, which included darn good ports of both
Donkey Kong”and its follow-up on one cartridge.
Regardless, Donkey Kong Jr. for the 7800 is a very good
translation and preferable to Donkey Kong available for the
system. Why is it preferable? All four screens were included in the
title, whereas one was left out of Donkey Kong. This game, after
all, is a port of an arcade game, and incomplete versions of well-known
hits are usually at least a bit disappointing for gamers.
In Donkey Kong Jr. the player goes through a bit of a role
reversal. In Donkey Kong, of course, the hero is Mario and he's
out to save his girlfriend from a crazed gorilla. In Donkey Kong Jr.
the hero is the son of the aforementioned crazed ape, and his goal is to
save his father from Mario. Yes, Mario has caged Donkey Kong, and such a
travesty ought not be allowed!
So, there's the premise. The gameplay is challenging, to say the least.
The player will have to climb chains, vines and etc. in order to collect
keys and such in order to save Donkey Kong. Ah, but Junior has quite a
task in front of him. He must dodge all manner of Mario's minions,
including living steel traps (Snapjaws), birds which try to drop poop on
him (disgusting!) and the like. The biggest enemy in the game, however,
is gravity itself – should Junior leap at, say, a vine and miss or fall
off a platform, he's history. Frankly, this game is tougher than
Donkey Kong for the 7800, and not just because all four levels are
One of the things that makes this game so challenging is that jumping
feels slow and awkward. At times, some precision jumps are necessary,
but it takes the player a bit of time to get the necessary “feel” for
the controls which will allow him to achieve the more difficult leaps.
Some tighter controls would have been very appreciated in this game.
Some better sound – or no sound at all – would have also been
appreciated in the game. While I suppose it's nice that the folks at
Atari included a lot of the music from the arcade game, I wish the folks
would have done a better job. The music just sounds off-key for the most
part, and the sound effects are tinny and irritating. Thank goodness
it's not crucial to hear the sounds in the game – I prefer to turn the
television down and listen to a decent compact disc when playing this.
Fortunately, the graphics are pretty good. While not arcade-perfect,
they look crisp enough to get the job done. Junior even has on his
diaper, and his eyes bug out when he's whopped in the head by poop (or
whatever) and loses a life. Sure the graphics aren't quite as good as
what they were in the arcade and I can't help but think a 7800 game
ought to look better than this. However, this game looks close enough to
what arcade fans of Donkey Kong Jr. expect to be passable.
All in all, this game is enjoyable in spite of the rotten sound and
awkward controls. Give it a shot. Heck, it won't cost you much as this
is a very common cartridge.
||Donkey Kong Jr.